Ronald Marks (known also as Ronald Mark Pitts) died peacefully on March 14, 2013 in Lodi, California at the age 63 after a long illness. Born in Omaha, Nebraska April 12, 1949 Ron was adopted as an infant by Hymen and Bernice Pitts of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After Bernice's death in 1952 Ron's father remarried and Nila Brown became Ron's second adopted mother.
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Ron was raised in Sioux Falls where he studied and excelled in piano, cello and organ before graduating from Washington High School in Sioux Falls. After attending Northwestern University in Chicago and University of South Dakota, Ron enlisted in the Marine Corps serving in the Marine Corps Band as pianist, percussionist and arranger. Upon his honorable discharge in 1974 he attended California Institute of the Arts and later in 1980 earned his BA and MM degrees in piano and conducting at California State University at Northridge. He also studied privately with Sir Georg Solti and Robert Shaw. In 1983 Ron moved to the Lodi area and worked as a DJ on radio stations KWIN and KJOY. It was at that time he changed his name to Ronald Marks. He also taught piano and music history at Delta College in Stockton for a few years. During this time in 1988, with the help and encouragement of Mary Jane Ballatore, Carol Marvel and Gwin Paden, the Lodi Symphony Orchestra and Lodi Symphony Chorus with Ron as Music Director/Conductor was organized. Later he was Music Director/Conductor of Sierra Symphony of Placerville, California until 2000. Ron was a tremendously talented musician, performer, teacher and composer.
Throughout his academic life Ron participated in sports and especially loved baseball. He was an active member of the Boosters of Boys and Girls Sports of Lodi (BOBS) for 17 years serving several terms as president and coaching Babe Ruth baseball most of those years. In the last seven years he was the California District One Commissioner for the Babe Ruth organization which he thoroughly enjoyed.
Ron is survived by his wife, Irma; his children, Marc, Margaret and one grandchild, Aubrey.
Services and inurnment will be private.
Cherokee Memorial Funeral Home is honored to serve the Marks family.
Please sign the guestbook at www.cherokeememorial.com
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Mar. 21 to Mar. 28, 2013